• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

Rural living, cell phones, and the law of uncertainty as it relates to service.  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 2147
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
231
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a cell phone, and because I live in Canada, I pay a premium for the privilege of having all the bells and whistles that modern tech junkies think is important on such a hand held computer/communication device.  Because I have a relatively well paid job at the moment, I coughed up the dough for the better plan.

I also live in a relatively rural location.  It's not that I live way out in the bush on some windy bumpy dirt track, miles from power or towers; I live right near Highway 16 (the second trans Canada highway).  Sure I live in the mountains, and there is plenty of wilderness nearby, and I don't expect that I'm going to get service like all the fancy folks get in New York or London, or Tokyo but... there is a serious gap in my experience of this service, when I think of it in relation to the expectation that I believe is being presented to the purchaser of said device.

Here's an example.  Yesterday eve, I was a little late in heading out to my friend Tim's place.  I was driving to his place (also in my same hamlet) and then car pooling together to go to one of the nearby village's for an evening of the Chinese 'rummy' game, Mahjong (Tim lived in China for a time, and has infected our brains with this crazed game).  Anyway, as I was leaving, I sent Tim this text:  "On my way!" just so he knew that, even though I was clearly not on time, that I'd be there quite soon.  We don't live that far apart, by local rural standards and even with crappy winter conditions, I would be on a relatively plowed highway... blah blah, and blah; I'd be there soon.

Anyway, I meet up with Tim ten minutes later thinking (ten minutes ago) that he got this text, but basically forgetting it, and not mentioning it as we immediately jumped into a few topics that range from pig care to automobiles, to our new mahjong partner's skills, to... blah blah blah, and we are halfway to the village, and his cell phone makes a noise and lights up.  He picks up his phone from the car console and looks at me, and says, "I just got your text.  Glad to here you are on your way."  Tim has even less reliable cell service at his place then mine.

Now to explain further:  I send and receive texts relatively often for a Luddite, and sometimes I have the impression due to the relative speed of our exchanges, that this service is indeed functioning as advertised.  So I have no idea why it does not happen at other times.  I do not send texts when I am in what I call a cell shadow.  I can normally send and receive texts from where I sent the one mentioned above to Tim.

I regularly work way out of cell service on the railway between Blue River and Jasper.  If someone texts or calls me while I am out there, I'm told that the message goes up into something called a cloud and then when I come back into service it descends from the cloud and enters my device and it lights up or vibrates or makes a goofy noise, and I get my message.   Some times.  Some times it is a day late.  Some times it is two days late.  It eventually does it's thing... but I don't really have a high opinion of it's service, and I have no idea why there should be so much uncertainty involved.   Now I know that my cell company is not the same as Tim's or... is not necessarily the same as someone else's, and I get that his cell phone is getting it's information beamed up to such and such networks, and such and such network has to share that information with my network, and then that attempts to go to my phone and if it can't it get's stored in the cloud, and then the cloud tries to beam it down to connect with me, or something like that.  I just don't get the uncertainty.   What if I have an emergency?   Argh.  

  
 
gardener
Posts: 1186
Location: Middle Tennessee
181
books cat chicken food preservation homestead cooking purity trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’d kinda like to ditch my cell phone all together. I admit, it is convenient, and somewhat useful, but also I’ve resisted the “improved” technology and have never owned a smart phone. For me, I think they’re just another distraction, but also I think I’m more afraid of finding it too useful and won’t ever be able to go back. I use my cell phone to talk to people, send text messages, and take pictures. The calendar and calculator come in handy once in a while.

I currently live outside of Nashville, but my wife and I are moving to Mayberry, as I like to call it. We’re moving this fall to pursue our homesteading dreams on some land we purchased last summer, and it’s rural. The nearest town’s population is less than 400, and doesn’t have a traffic light. I was out there on our new soon to be farm last week with the well drillers, and my cell phone goes back and forth from “searching for service” to a weak signal. If I hold my phone crooked, stand on one foot and close my left eye I can get a signal and send a message or make a phone call. It’s practically non-functional.

I mentioned to my wife that when we move, I might like to ditch the cell phone and not have one, and she cites “what if there’s an emergency?” I get it, but I also remember being a teenager driving wherever I pleased with no cell phone. I got a flat tire once, and changed it. I ran out of gas once, and a nice guy picked me up. My wife doesn’t so much worry about those things, but more of something like a tractor or chainsaw or broken leg accident on the farm where I’m way off on the other side of the property out of sight of the house. It’s a valid concern, but I’m not too worried about it. I may keep the phone so my wife has peace of mind, even though it practically doesn’t work out there. Maybe I’ll keep a flare gun with me instead.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
240
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It was ever thus whilst living in a remote rural area of Northern Britain many years ago  I bought my daughter a mobile phone for Christmas she was very happy I was too as we had no reception for at least three miles :-)
Next year I bought her an electric guitar  :-) no amp just the guitar
I am surprised social services were not called frankly

David  
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2147
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
231
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I’d kinda like to ditch my cell phone all together. I admit, it is convenient, and somewhat useful, but also I’ve resisted the “improved” technology and have never owned a smart phone. For me, I think they’re just another distraction, but also I think I’m more afraid of finding it too useful and won’t ever be able to go back.

  As the saying goes:  "I hear that with my bad ear."  Quite literally in this case.   I originally got my cell phone upgraded to a smart phone when I went to work on the road all over a couple provinces; we would change locations at the last minute and I was required to find my own accommodations.  If I didn't have a smart phone, I could not possibly find an available hotel room in a small town in Northern Alberta without a serious time commitment with a phone company operator who would be not very conducive to appreciating my lack of technology due to their inevitable urban service convenience.  I use it more for the phone, text, and camera than anything else, but the calendar, the calculator, and other functions do actually get a lot of use.  And then there's the internet.  I do use it, but compared to lots of other people I see, I'm a light weight. 
 
pollinator
Posts: 269
Location: SF Bay Area
24
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Santa Cruz, California has terrible cell service, and it is literally on the other side of the hill from Silicon Valley. So, go figure.

I put off getting a cell phone for years. I always said if I wanted to talk to you, I would be where you are. This was primarily because I didn't want my husband to keep calling me when he was watching the kids.

I have one now, because it's my only phone, and it makes things with my grown children easier. But I rarely answer it, and never carry around the house with me.
 
Posts: 37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's funny to see how some people, who used to live without technology, so easily get sucked into the smartphone habit...
I am in a ambiguous situation. I do not like wireless technology, (I actually get sick/stressed of too much wifi and mobile phone radiation), but I love to be in wilderness, where often there are no landlines, and so, sms can practical... I think it's the way we use the wireless technology that is the problem for me. If we have it all the time around us, some of us get somehow allergic/sick, but if you we would use satellite phone, or mobiles in a much more restricted way, many of us would cope... I do have an old school mobile, mostly for sms, sure, it's practical. especially when travelling (no more pay-phones booths,  no more internet cafes where you don't need your own device...) No, I don't want to live in the past...but, all this radiation FROM OTHERS AROUND ME is making me sick... Remember how it was accepted  some decades ago to have smokers around you, pollute your environment and damage your health?... well think about it, its the same with all this wireless thing...
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2147
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
231
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are many days when my phone sits on my bedside table with its charging cord plugged in.  The phone is first and foremost MY phone for MY convenience.  It is not a tether to which I am tied. I got up one day on my weekend in December to see that my phone (which had been selected on UNINTERUPT) had had several calls from one of my supervisors  and numerous text messages and a voice mail had been left in the night. I read and listened and decided to talk to them when I got in to work the next day. There had been a minor emergency and they needed someone to deal with it.  The eventually found someone else.  They asked me, however, why I didn't answer my phone.  I asked them if I was on call, and they said no.  I'm willing to take call outs when I'm not on call but like I said I'm not tethered to the thing.  On my days off, it's my choice.  If you want me to be on call, there is an on call charge for that, and I'll be seeing it on my paycheck with or without activation.   Besides many of my favorite pass times on my personal time are out of cell service. Heck I might be hanging out with friends and I leave my phone in the car or at home.
 
Lana Weldon
Posts: 37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm a bit jealous of Canadians and Americans, so many complain about the lack of mobile phone reception... Haha, how I wish I could be in their shoes... Here in Europe, specifically Germany, it's getting more and more difficult to find radiation-free areas... Sometimes I just feel I need a brake from all this constant waves, and so caves, cellars and underground dwelling could give a small brake, but they are not exactly easy to find,  and can also be damp, mouldy, dark  and slightly depressing... Well, more and more people are getting sick/stressed from this radiation, and need to escape/get a "rest". Especially city people. But some people take advantage of this. I once got an offer concerning some places where you could stay to avoid radiation, and they charge crazy amounts of money to those desperate people... What a joke... Anyway, I still think we should have radiation-free areas, also the problem is the lack of communication lol... Those people who wish to connect with other people, many of them can't use phones or computers, and so are kept isolated in their bubble... Hope we could change that...
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2147
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
231
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Here in Europe, specifically Germany, it's getting more and more difficult to find radiation-free areas

  I would say that it is likely impossible to find truly radiation free areas as there is so much radiation from so many different things, including natural radiation, that we need to accept a little no matter what, especially in highly urbanized, densely populated areas where tech abounds.  I would actually prefer to have nothing at all in regards to cell service in this valley.  It would give me great pleasure to not see the ugly monstrosity of a cell tower, and it's barb wire topped chain link fence that Telus put up beside our community hall that actually gave worse reception then the previous one on the mountain ridge.  I would like them all to go away, and my phone with it.  I would rather just have a land line and not deal with the cellular mentality, but that is not the world we live in any more.  It would be impossible for many people to functionally do their jobs without the use of this new technology; the work force has accepted this tech as a matter of course.  Even if I never picked up a cell phone, I could not change the times and the technology that has enveloped this valley.  I begrudgingly accepted first a cell phone (as I was fully an on call worker at the time), and then a smart phone (reasoning posted in above post), even though it's not really my style.  If I want to be free of this potential health problem, the forest and mountains are not far away; sadly this is not an option for everybody. 

The thing that I started this thread about was more about the fact that there is so much uncertainty in the service.  It seems like it should work better than it does.  It's not like the phone is telling me that I don't have a signal, or that the text is not going through. It seems strange to me that there is such a gap between what I perceive is the common belief of the service provided, and the actual service being provided.  I would just like to understand how it all works so that it makes sense to me as to what is actually going on, or not going on.  That's it. 

when we move, I might like to ditch the cell phone and not have one, and she cites “what if there’s an emergency?” I get it, but I also remember being a teenager driving wherever I pleased with no cell phone. I got a flat tire once, and changed it. I ran out of gas once, and a nice guy picked me up. My wife doesn’t so much worry about those things, but more of something like a tractor or chainsaw or broken leg accident on the farm where I’m way off on the other side of the property out of sight of the house. It’s a valid concern, but I’m not too worried about it. 

  Most of this valley has crappy cell reception.  I had a flat tire on Jan 2nd this year.  Fortunately there was a nearly full moon as it was 6am and otherwise dark, the wind was howling and it was minus 10 C ( 14F ).  I was halfway through changing the tire, when one of my community neighbors drove up with his truck.  He shined his headlights on the job and came over to provide pleasant conversation while I finished the job.  Right now I don't have a land line, and I'm not sure where the closest one is to my property.  I'm operating heavy tools like chainsaws and circular saws often at my place, and my Dad is sometimes around doing the same and he is in his 76th year.  He could have a heart attack or stroke and I might want to make a call, like now.  He's a relatively healthy older dude and is game to work until he can't, and I want to give him that option.   Land lines are great until a tree falls in the storm taking out the lines.  Since the tech is here, and I doubt it is going anywhere any time soon, I eventually want both, and I would just like to know if and when and where I can rely on it.  It is an increased safety net but it is not a massive thing that ways heavy as worry on my mind.   
 
pollinator
Posts: 321
Location: SoCal USA
32
bike cat dog tiny house trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The cell reception at the land I just bought is pretty minimal, which is unfortunate as I was thinking cellular would be handy for cheap internet access. So I'll likely have to purchase satellite internet service, as the area is pretty low population and the lay of the land doesn't offer long site lines to towers. Maybe another network would work, we will see down the road.

Although I work in the IT realm, I'm not a big fan of new tech, especially the constant bleeding of money for the endless upgrade cycle. As long as I have enough internet access for information and a little entertainment value I'm good. Having a phone on me but turned off which has a signal would be handy if I hurt myself while felling a tree or a mountain lion or bear decided to take exception to my presence.
 
garden master
Posts: 4770
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
537
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The best phone for those of us that work "Out" is a Sat. phone good anywhere on the planet since you are shooting the signal to the satellites.
The bad thing about them is the cost for us civilians.
 
Posts: 61
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lana, in rural France, where i am ,there are lots of places where there is no reception for mobile phones. When i drive and send a quick text message it's best to try on top of a hill. My neighbour a kilometer from here in the valley rarely has any reception at all. I sleep better when i switch the wifi off at night,less weird disturbed dreams and better rested.
I use an old Nokia phone, just because they have much better reception then new smartphones, which were developed for environments, awash in full reception. Smart phones, people give older models away now, are handy as a spare computer and to take photos and whatsapp.
The faces of people when they spot my scratched and torn device are priceless, especially young peoples suspicious looks like i'm some caveman carrying a stick. Yesterday an 18 year old citydweller told me this story about a friend who dropped his old phone and it was still in working order after, like if it was supposed to be amazing me.
I heard the newest I phones cost a thousand and break immediately after dropping. Kids are completely hooked on them, mothers don't watch their toddlers but whatsapp their friends, accidents on roads, there is a proven connection between teen depression and the amount of time spent on the smart phone, one in five young couples check their phones during sexy time, it's all so crazy..
And now people pay good money to get away from the effects of other people's devices.
Modern world is an open air insane asylum. Full stop. 
 
Posts: 47
Location: The Netherlands
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mark Tudor wrote:The cell reception at the land I just bought is pretty minimal, which is unfortunate as I was thinking cellular would be handy for cheap internet access. So I'll likely have to purchase satellite internet service, as the area is pretty low population and the lay of the land doesn't offer long site lines to towers. Maybe another network would work, we will see down the road.

Although I work in the IT realm, I'm not a big fan of new tech, especially the constant bleeding of money for the endless upgrade cycle. As long as I have enough internet access for information and a little entertainment value I'm good. Having a phone on me but turned off which has a signal would be handy if I hurt myself while felling a tree or a mountain lion or bear decided to take exception to my presence.

You could consider a signal booster, if the signal is there but weak a larger antenna does help a lot.
 
Lana Weldon
Posts: 37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Hugo for your interesting post. In which area in France are you based? I have spent a bit of time south of Toulouse, and yes, some places have no reception (not yet the Pyrenees, more the the foot of the mountains).
Yes I know what you mean, when they look at you as if you were a caveman/cavewoman!

I used to live in Stockholm before, and there, the mobile addiction is extreme. I have noticed that in many Scandinavian countries, the situation is really bad, worse than in Italy for instance or the south of Europe.
Sweden is a country famous for it's environmental consciousness etc, but when it comes to radiation, it's different. In fact, most people do not differentiate between wireless/mobile radiation and electric sensitivity! So, that means that if you can't stand wifi, you are obviously an "el-allergiker", meaning, you are allergic to electricity.  The mobile industry/lobby is big in Sweden, lots of money involved, and many tests "confirming" that wifi is harmless are made by the industry itself, but people have no clues. So, if you can't stand wifi, you are more or less an outcast, and have to live in a cabin in the wood without any electricity. The industry has really managed to create a negative image, of the caveman/nutcase living alone without any friends far away in the woods, unable to call/email anyone...  Sweden is a country that has changed A LOT since the 70-80's, but people outside Sweden think that it is still this amazingly safe and fair and democratic haven... I would say that France is pretty good concerning awareness of wifi and mobile radiation. Many schools and libraries have stopped the use of Wifi.
 
Hugo Morvan
Posts: 61
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To answer your question, i'm in national park Morvan in Burgundy. One of europe's least populated areas.
It's bad here with the mobile addiction as well, i noticed with the kids, the farmers and workers don't go near them.
But compared to Finland, it's not that bad, these northern countries where people are not that talkative anyway, and in their puberty they don't develop their ability to communicate but stare at their phones. Asking for trouble, good they have enough money to spend on therapy.
I lived in a cabin without electricity except for the batteries in a radio which could receive 2 stations, it had a really calm feel about living like that, with old fashioned petroleum lamps ,we had 2, had to carry it to the loo to have light as well..
Yes to the fraudulent corporate funded investigations, i heard the director of the state owned Belgian telecom was interviewed and had said he didn't want wireless at home (for the kids)and expected wireless-less to take flight. He got fired and that was the last i heard of wireless.
My mom laughed at me when i asked her to switch her wifi off at night, but she did and slept better for it.
 
 
Posts: 261
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Texting is a not a guaranteed delivery service.  Said another way, there is no real mechanism in the protocol that attempts to deliver texts in a timely manner.  So while your spotty reception may be part of the cause, I have personal examples of texts taking days to arrive wherein both parties are mostly urban and have good reception most of the time.  Often the reasons for the delay can never be identified.  This is also true with email.

However, as a licensed ham, I know a few tricks for improving your reception in the sticks.  What you really need, more than anything, is a radio "line-of-sight" between your phone and a tower.  This seems counter-intuitive, since we think of walls and such as blocking a line-of-sight, but with most radio frequencies walls are semi-transparent, not opaque. Unfortunately, dirt is quite opaque.   But if the place you spend your time is down in a valley (or 'holler' near where I grew up), the best way to get a line-of-sight is to get vertical.  This doesn't make sense with a portable device such as a cell phone, but adding a "passive repeater" to your home might help with reception to a surprising degree.  A passive repeater is simply two antennas of the correct frequency range with a low-resistance connection between them; one antenna *inside* your home (probably the kitchen or living room) and the other antenna high upon a pole.  The way the passive repeater works is that the tower signal will make the high antenna resonate, and so will the lower antenna to a lessor degree; and when your phone transmits, the reverse will also occur.  This won't give you 4 bars when you have none, but may give you one bar where you have none; or one or two bars where you occasionally have one bar.  This works best when the cell phone spends it's time very close to the lower antenna. 

And a long wire antenna will work for this, so really all that is necessary is a single, long, insulated wire stretching from the top of a tower into your home; grounded nowhere.  Try it on a sunny day to see if it works for you, but keep in mind that ham radio operators with permanent radio towers have lightening divertors on their towers.  If your high end needs to be higher than your surrounding trees, consider the risk of lightening strikes.

EDIT:  If you can climb onto your roof with your cellphone, and get a decent signal there, then a passive repeater will work.  Just make sure that the top of the wire is about where your head was when you could get reception.
 
Posts: 64
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Check out this amishbook suggestion, framed comedically by Colbert, that tells the virtues of living luddlightly (off grid like a luddite)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPevSIOPIo4 The amish sketch is a couple mins in to this vid, but the set up is entertaining too. BTW, we permies are permaculturists. This word unfolds into Permanent Agriculture or Culture and their is nothing sustainable about wifi, cell service, and way far less so about the new G5 technology they're about to foist upon us. How to sustain vs the coming onslaught? grow a food forest canopy overhead and surrounding. plants generally thrive in dappled shade. Thanks, Ogrenick
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 261
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


That does sound like a good long term plan, Nick.  But as an alternative to his immediate problem of effective communications with local peers, perhaps this would work well if he can get his peers to participate...

https://www.gotenna.com/
 
Posts: 76
Location: White Mountains of New Hampshire zone 5
5
books dog hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We live in the Mountains of NH, Verizon says we're fully covered; they lie! We do not get cell service and neither do our close neighbors. We do have cable internet (not tv) so I do a lot of my "stuff" on line. My cellphone connects to my WiFi, but still no service and not really texting either. BUT, I do get messages from Facebook. They pop up on the phone, and my laptop. Not that I need to get messages that way, but it is the best way to keep track of our 28 year old daughter and her 3 kids. We get the most wonderful gift of having 3 grandkids visiting us. The girls are still quite young so they have slept over yet, but their big brother is 8 and loves to hang out with his Papa and Grammy here on our 13 acres. He had been working on a design for a playground to we worked in to our field around the permaculture plantings.  So if you really have no texting service, but have wifi service, try using messenger to send out important info. We do have Vonage which is a VOIP. Vonage is great by the way.
 
Nick Dimitri
Posts: 64
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The gotenna solution, while being something, but nothing compared to developed skills, general preparedness to solve problems. Plus a real emergency involves immediacy & urgency and your fellow man within earshot usually will lend a helping hand. We can in$ulate ourselves from consequences but this can only be taken so far and you/we gotta take ourselves the rest of the way. I live rurally in Canada and I cherish and relish in the fact of our patchy service, so fear and revile the eventuality, as I'm told, that so called "service" is coming to get us/me soon enuf. here's an excellent website that's also a search engine for all the real research done on herbs, foods and alternative (real) health care points & techniques called greenmedinfo. This one page is about citizens against G5 as it's being rolled out in the area of Washington DC:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/citizens-arms-against-5g-wireless-technology-roll-out-are-their-concerns-justifie
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 261
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If off grid digital communications are the concern, consider getting a ham radio license and see if you can get your social circle to do likewise.  Digital radios in the 70mm band are amazing, and in many ways make your cell phone seem sub-standard.  But such radios are much more expensive than cell phones, and much larger.
 
gardener
Posts: 3465
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
805
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

My attitude towards text, is that it is an unreliable form of communication. If it's important that I know that someone has received the communication, then I give them a call.
 
Posts: 366
Location: Upstate SC
11
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A set of "walkie-talkies" is useful for communications around a farm/property that has no cell service when you are beyond shouting distance.  They were more commonly used in the days before cell phones.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 4770
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
537
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm with you Mike, on our land a pair of walkie- talkies work far better than cellphone.
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 261
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I'm with you Mike, on our land a pair of walkie- talkies work far better than cellphone.



What kind of real use range do you get out of your walkie-talkies, and what band are they using?
 
pollinator
Posts: 203
Location: mountains of Tennessee
19
bee chicken homestead hugelkultur hunting solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The most difficult thing about not having a phone is getting anyone to believe it.
 
Posts: 139
Location: 54 North BC Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Creighton Samuiels wrote:
What kind of real use range do you get out of your walkie-talkies, and what band are they using?



The FRS models use frequency around 462 Megacycles and do not require an operators licences.  Read somewhere that
range is up to 28 kilometres [17 miles]....only know for sure that it works good on 160-acre property......
 
pollinator
Posts: 2121
299
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Barkley wrote:The most difficult thing about not having a phone is getting anyone to believe it.



I agree.

All they are is an electronic leash, and then people want to say they live in the most free countries in the world. Really?


 
Mike Barkley
pollinator
Posts: 203
Location: mountains of Tennessee
19
bee chicken homestead hugelkultur hunting solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-Dual-Radio-Black/dp/B007H4VT7A/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1454445456&sr=1-4&keywords=Baofeng+UV-5R

This handheld radio has several bands including cb, "walkie talkie", & ham. Good for NOAA weather reports. 20 miles is about maximum transmission range under ideal conditions. I normally use it in heavily forested mountains at a 2 or 3 mile range. No problem.

Besides the leash aspect there's also the dumbing down thing. How many people have you seen in the soup aisle discussing via phone which type of soup to buy? No one should need help with that. It's just not that difficult!!!







 
gardener
Posts: 1620
Location: USDA Zone 8a
259
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Creighton Samuiels wrote:  What you really need, more than anything, is a radio "line-of-sight" between your phone and a tower.  This seems counter-intuitive, since we think of walls and such as blocking a line-of-sight, but with most radio frequencies walls are semi-transparent, not opaque. Unfortunately, dirt is quite opaque.   But if the place you spend your time is down in a valley (or 'holler' near where I grew up), the best way to get a line-of-sight is to get vertical.  This doesn't make sense with a portable device such as a cell phone, but adding a "passive repeater" to your home might help with reception to a surprising degree.  A passive repeater is simply two antennas of the correct frequency range with a low-resistance connection between them; one antenna *inside* your home (probably the kitchen or living room) and the other antenna high upon a pole.  The way the passive repeater works is that the tower signal will make the high antenna resonate, and so will the lower antenna to a lessor degree; and when your phone transmits, the reverse will also occur.  This won't give you 4 bars when you have none, but may give you one bar where you have none; or one or two bars where you occasionally have one bar.  This works best when the cell phone spends it's time very close to the lower antenna. 



This is an interesting concept.  I will have to talk to my husband about this.  Thanks for sharing.

And a long wire antenna will work for this, so really all that is necessary is a single, long, insulated wire stretching from the top of a tower into your home; grounded nowhere.  Try it on a sunny day to see if it works for you, but keep in mind that ham radio operators with permanent radio towers have lightening divertors on their towers.  If your high end needs to be higher than your surrounding trees, consider the risk of lightening strikes.

EDIT:  If you can climb onto your roof with your cellphone, and get a decent signal there, then a passive repeater will work.  Just make sure that the top of the wire is about where your head was when you could get reception.




Rural living, cell phones, and the law of uncertainty as it relates to service.



This is an interesting topic.

We resisted getting a cell phone for many years.  All service providers want you to think their plan is the best and that they have the best coverage area.

This is not the case as many have found out.

We don't have a data plan; we don't use texting or voice mail;


In the past we used our cell phone to access the internet; if we had an unlimited data plan maybe we would do that.  Where I live that still is not the best option.

Satellite internet providers are about the same as cell providers.  They want you to think their plan is the best and that they have the best coverage area.


Rural living has its ups and downs.  You have to take the good with the bad if you want rural living.

For us its make sure the gas tank is full because it is 30 miles to the nearest gas station;  make sure we have plenty of food as it is 30 miles to the nearest grocery store or restaurant.

 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 261
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

R Jay wrote:

Creighton Samuiels wrote:
What kind of real use range do you get out of your walkie-talkies, and what band are they using?



The FRS models use frequency around 462 Megacycles and do not require an operators licences.  Read somewhere that
range is up to 28 kilometers [17 miles]....only know for sure that it works good on 160-acre property......



You seem to be confusing FRS band with GMRS band radios.  Their band frequencies overlap, and behave very similarly, but it's only the GMRS radios that could possibly function with even a theoretical range of 28 klicks.  The GMRS radios are much more powerful, are not limited to an incredibly inefficient "rubber duck" antenna that comes permanently installed on an FRS radio, and they do require at least a station license.  They are not difficult to get, though; but they are also much more expensive than FRS radios generally.  Quality transceivers cost real money, and there isn't any trick to that.  Don't get me wrong, the FRS radios will work pretty well across flat & open ground, but anything farther than about 4 klicks is going to be annoying to use.
 
gardener
Posts: 392
Location: Sierra Nevadas, CA 6400'
110
dog hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Barkley wrote:https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-Dual-Radio-Black/dp/B007H4VT7A/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1454445456&sr=1-4&keywords=Baofeng+UV-5R

This handheld radio has several bands including cb, "walkie talkie", & ham. Good for NOAA weather reports. 20 miles is about maximum transmission range under ideal conditions. I normally use it in heavily forested mountains at a 2 or 3 mile range. No problem.



This little radio looks interesting! I've tried a number of walkie talkies and they are worthless to me since there's so much granite around. Once someone is 1/4 mile away my "35 mile" range walkie talkies can't pick up anything. All the ranchers around here use CB when they're out in the forest, and for some reason I always thought that required some kind of vehicle / large antenna / permanent fixture. Now if I can just wrap my head around all these frequencies and such…
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 261
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Barkley wrote:https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-Dual-Radio-Black/dp/B007H4VT7A/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1454445456&sr=1-4&keywords=Baofeng+UV-5R

This handheld radio has several bands including cb, "walkie talkie", & ham. Good for NOAA weather reports. 20 miles is about maximum transmission range under ideal conditions. I normally use it in heavily forested mountains at a 2 or 3 mile range. No problem.

Besides the leash aspect there's also the dumbing down thing. How many people have you seen in the soup aisle discussing via phone which type of soup to buy? No one should need help with that. It's just not that difficult!!!



Keep in mind, however, that even though this radio is capable of Citizen's Band transmissions, it must be programmed to stay within those legal band parameters to not require a ham radio operator's license.  If you buy it unprogrammed, or programmed capable of transmitting on ham radio frequencies, using it without a ham radio license is a crime in both the United States and Canada.  And as a ham myself, I know that the consequences of such a violation are, potentially, quite high; because this gets into international treaties on radio transmissions.  Proceed with caution, a ham radio license is not that difficult to get.
 
R Jay
Posts: 139
Location: 54 North BC Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Samuel

Creighton Samuiels wrote:
You seem to be confusing FRS band with GMRS band radios.  Their band frequencies overlap, and behave very similarly, but it's only the GMRS radios that could possibly function with even a theoretical range of 28 klicks.  The GMRS radios are much more powerful, are not limited to an incredibly inefficient "rubber duck" antenna that comes permanently installed on an FRS radio, and they do require at least a station license.  They are not difficult to get, though; but they are also much more expensive than FRS radios generally.  Quality transceivers cost real money, and there isn't any trick to that.  Don't get me wrong, the FRS radios will work pretty well across flat & open ground, but anything farther than about 4 klicks is going to be annoying to use.



Your rules are not our rules  O>

"On September 7, 2004, Industry Canada launched the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), also modeled on our
southern neighbour's GMRS. It is the same type of service as FRS, but the radios have a higher transmit power and
more channels, thus being more attractive to business users. Since almost all GMRS radios today contain all the
GMRS and FRS frequencies, the services have basically merged into one, and any reference to GMRS automatically
includes FRS unless otherwise noted."

It is no longer the type of radio you buy "up here"....it is a matter of price....say...50 bucks a pair compared to
over 300 $Can for one.

Unlike the 6-watt power output of American radios--which require a licence--Canadian law limits output power to 2 watts.
You are correct in saying that for Canada, "personal radios" depending on topography and atmospheric conditions, the range
is limited to only a few miles/klicks

The property I have measures almost 2700 ft by 2700 ft...as in 160-acres.  Do I need a $300 deluxe model?....or maybe just a well-built "rubber ducky?

 
R Jay
Posts: 139
Location: 54 North BC Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

The technology is available.  It just depends on what you want to pay...and how bad the need to stay in touch is...

Thuraya SatSleeve is an slide-on addition to your cell phone for communication thru sattelite.

3 versions--for Android, for iPhone, and a "universal" model

Costs around $500 to buy and several dollars a minute to use
SatSleeve_iPhone5_explode.png
[Thumbnail for SatSleeve_iPhone5_explode.png]
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 261
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

R Jay wrote:Hi Samuel


The property I have measures almost 2700 ft by 2700 ft...as in 160-acres.  Do I need a $300 deluxe model?....or maybe just a well-built "rubber ducky?



Probably a typical FRS radio would be perfect for within your own property, but that wasn't the use case that this thread was based upon.  So I was contradicting the idea that such radios actually have the kind of real range that their own advertising claims.  Those claims are based upon theoretical ranges with a direct line-of-sight, not on how real people actually use them.

EDIT; And Creighton is actually my first name.  I was named after a local city alderman in 1975.
 
We find this kind of rampant individuality very disturbing. But not this tiny ad:
Binge on 17 Seasons of Permaculture Design Monkeys!
http://permaculture-design-course.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!